Bank's insurance wing penalised for 'unfair trade practices'

  • Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 04, 2014 21:40 IST

For issuing insurance policies instead of fixed deposit receipts (FDR), the district consumer disputes redressal forum here pulled up HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited (SLIC) for “its unfair trade practices and deficient services”, directing them to pay rs 50,000 compensation to Avtar Singh of Mullanpur Garibdass village, SAS Nagar, who had filed a petition against the insurance wing.

Disposing of the complaint, the consumer forum has directed the SLIC to refund Rs3 lakh, which was invested in the policies without Singh's consent along with a litigation cost of rs 15,000.
Singh, who is an agriculturist, said he had deposited `3 lakh compensation that he had received for his land that was acquired by the government in the HDFC bank as FDRs, but the insurance wing of the bank on the other hand issued insurance policies in his and his wife's names, which he noticed later.

Singh said that he did not know English language and the form was filled-in by the bank agent and its insurance wing.

Singh's complaint alleged that HDFC SLIC misguided him as well as his wife and filled the proposal form without disclosing the true content. He alleged the policies had been issued to the complainant and his wife in violation to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) regulations. The complainant had asked for refund, which was denied, thus forcing him to approach the forum.

However, denying any unfair trade practices, HDFC SLIC and HDFC bank officials said the complainant and his wife had willingly chosen to purchase the said insurance policies and had signed the papers after fully understanding the terms and conditions. “Moreover, neither the complainant, nor his wife had availed the option of prescribed free look period, to get the said policies cancelled,” they said. They said the complainant and his wife had signed the declaration after the policy information was explained to them in Punjabi, which is the language understood by them.

The consumer forum, presided over by PL Ahuja, on September 2 states, “We are of the opinion that the insurer (HDFC SLIC) has failed to do its duty by not adhering to the mandatory rules and regulations of the government. The insurer has failed to render proper services and have indulged in unfair trade practice.”

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